Joachim Holte, chief marketing officer, Wego, said, As predictions of global tourism growth rises to the greatest levels in history, filmmakers join tourism bodies to maximise the impact a films location has on todays more adventurous travellers.
Todays traveller seeks inspiration and unique experiences; destinations that tell a story and capture the imagination. Both destination marketers and filmmakers have recognised that film-induced tourism creates a mutually beneficial promotion and caters to the growing desire of travellers seeking out the more unusual destinations and experiences,he added.
Film and television can often spark the urge to visit the location they were filmed in. In a recent survey, some Australian travellers cited New York and Europe as their dream Christmas destinations, inspired by film classics. A great example is New Zealand who have successfully leveraged their natural treasures as the backdrop to the Lord of the Rings and Hobbit movies.
Holte said, It goes beyond taking selfies and laying on the same stretch of sand that Leonardo Dicaprio made famous on Phi Phi Island in Thailand. Film communicates insights into a countrys history and culture by emotionally connecting with an audience, and is far more effective than any stand-alone destination marketing campaigns.
Braveheart is attributed to have caused a 300 per cent increase in visitation to Scotland in the 12 months following the release of Mel Gibsons epic. The Crown Hotel in Amersham, England whose Courtyard Suite was featured in Four Weddings and a Funeral was fully booked for three years following the release of the movie. Leonardo diCaprios film, 'The Beach', was said to be responsible for a 22 per cent increase in youth market visits to Thailand.
Within the world of online culture and social connectivity that we now live in, film is becoming one of the biggest opportunities tourism bodies have. Todays travellers see themselves as explorers; they dig deeper into destinations than they did in the past and feel emotionally linked to destinations theyve experienced on the big screen, Holte explained.
Television also plays a role in boosting tourism. The recent phenomenon of Breaking Bad, brought an influx of visitors to Albuquerque, New Mexico and spurned shuttle tours and businesses ranging from Blue sweets to Blue Bath SaltsIceland is the latest to monopolise on the opportunity to show the world their spectacular landscape, as highlighted in Ben Stillers The Secret Life of Walter Mitty.
Ben Stiller became an advocate for visiting Iceland publicly declaring his awe of the countrys beauty, even including a song from popular local indie band, Of Monsters and Men, in the movie trailer, added Holte. Film has always inspired tourism but after New Zealands officials packaged up the country so successfully, with even their national airline taking advantage, destination marketers are taking more notice.
Just recently, with Australias Gold Coast as a backdrop, Tourism Australia, in partnership with Tourism and Events Queensland, collaborated with Pritish Nandy Communications and Balaji Motion Pictures in the Bollywood film, Shaadi Ke Side Effects (Side Effects of a Marriage), to promote Australia as the perfect choice for romantic holidays.
The Singapore Tourism Board invested US$ 6.3 million from its 'Film in Singapore' scheme that subsidises international film productions by up to 50 per cent. Bollywoods Krrish was the first to take advantage of the scheme, and Indian tourist traffic to Singapore increased dramatically immediately after its release.
Last year, Indias ministry of tourism launched a Land of Pi campaign on the back of Ang Lees film, Life of Pi, and Senator Grace Poe is very publicly pushing a bill for more funding and support to promote film tourism in the Philippines. In Ireland this month, the government announced it will activate what they refer to as the Tom Cruise clause, so film producers who bring in Hollywood stars receive tax relief.
Indonesia too has come into focus for Hollywood beyond Balis successful Eat, Pray, Love phenomenon. Minister of Tourism and Creative Economy Mari Pangestu has been working hard to bring big movie makers to Indonesia. Academy Award winning director Michael Mann (Miami Vice, Public Enemy, Last of the Mohicans) is a huge fan having just filmed CYBER in the capital of Jakarta, schedule for release in 2015.
Film tourism will continue to grow in Asia too. Industry experts cite Asian travellers as one of the worlds greatest film tourists. As travel becomes more economically viable with more low cost carriers and simple online travel booking options, it can be assumed that dedicated fans in China, Taiwan, Thailand and South Korea (who are avid consumers of film and television) will pursue film based locations more frequently in the future,said Holte.